Web Streaming to Promote Camp

by Sallie Ransom

Loading — connecting — show time! While the concept of streaming video on your Web site is intriguing, the reality remains very much in the future. Or does it?

Web streaming is today’s novel promotional effort. A mixture of the novel and the familiar is important for your marketing plan. The traditional brochure and VHS copy of your promotional video are not replaced by the latest trend. Those marketing basics are valuable tools, and we know children appreciate consistency. We also know children seek the new and unusual.

Web streaming is a key ingredient to making your existing Web site more dynamic, and it gives your Internet audience — campers — an instant connection to your camp community. An alternative to Web streaming is to make your video available on your Web site for download.

Streaming Vs. Downloading?

Recommendations for Camps

Web streaming is the process of taking audio and video images and producing them into continuous packets — streams — of information.
Two main benefits of Web streaming:
- instant access to your key messages; and
- ease of posting additions or changes.
Recommended stream is one continuous packet between one and three minutes, giving Internet users instant access to concise information.
The streamed content is hosted by a different server than the Web site you are viewing, which prevents slow access because of volume traffic on that particular Web site.
As of summer 2001, streaming content reached more than half of all Internet users.
More than half of the people watching streaming content are seeing movie trailers;42 percent are listening to music and watching weather reports.

An expert in the field explained it like this: a stream is like a PDF file. You open it, view it, but cannot alter it. It exists in “real-time” because you access it from a separate server. A download is like a WORD file. You save it to your hard drive, view it, and actually have the capability to alter it. Because it’s now a file on your system, you can cut and paste images/footage just like you could a WORD document.

While the above characteristics do separate a stream and download, the biggest difference is time. The average download time of a full video is eight to ten minutes. A streamed video clip is accessible in less than a minute. Visitors to your Web site have limited attention spans and expect instant results.

Why Web Streaming?

So, why isn’t everyone taking advantage of this development? The major factor delaying a Web streaming revolution is bandwidth. Most households operate with a 56K dial-up modem. The bandwidth size affects the quality of streamed audio and video content. Only those with cable or DSL connections enjoy Web streaming at its best.

The cost of adding streamed content to your Web site will depend on the number of clips you offer and the number of times those clips are accessed each month. A camp might expect to pay around $45 per month to have a three-minute video clip seen by up to one thousand visitors to the Web site.

The rapidly shifting nature of the Internet means that we must consider Web streaming today, even though many Web surfers will be without a high bandwidth connection until tomorrow. As more homes and offices make the high bandwidth transition, you are enriching the time spent visiting your Web site with streamed content. You are presenting a novel element that intrigues young people and helps make the connection to camp.

 

Sallie Ransom is the director of marketing for CAMP TV Media, Inc. She is a former summer camp marketing director and has worked in the camp industry for more than ten years. Contact Sallie toll free at 866-284-8437 for more details.

 

Originally published in the 2003 September/November issue of Camping Magazine.

 

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